Today's Gallup poll, a three day average of interviews conducted Tuesday through Thursday, arguably the most important nights of the DNC, show Obama extending his lead over McCain to eight points.
"Obama's largest advantage at any point in the campaign was a 9-point lead recorded July 24-26, so as his party's convention concludes, he is about as strongly positioned as he has been at any point this year."
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Today's Gallup poll, a three day average of interviews conducted Tuesday through Thursday, arguably the most important nights of the DNC, show Obama extending his lead over McCain to eight points.
Friday, August 29, 2008
You have to hand it to the Republicans--they wasted no time stealing the show. John McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Will the 44-year-old Republican rising star be a game changer?
- She is the first female candidate on a GOP presidential ticket, possibly appealing to disgruntled Hillary supporters who prioritize putting a female in a higher office over individual issues.
- She is strongly against abortion rights and gay marriage, which could galvanize the Republican evangelical base.
- She is strongly in favor of opening up Alaska to drilling and pipeline construction, placing priority on balancing environmental sustainability with economic development, which earn the GOP points on energy, if not the environment.
- Most importantly, she is a relative unknown, and just about as far from Washington as you can get, which could help convince dissatisfied Republicans that change--the mantra of this election--could actually stem from the GOP.
At very least, this is going to draw a wide audience to the GOP convention next week, an event that would have been widely ignored by most Americans. Palin has actually been a personal favorite of right-wing numbnut Rush Limbaugh, who as early as February called for Palin to join the ticket.
Here's a choice Rush Limbaugh exchange from that February 28th show:
RUSH: Sarah Palin. Okay.
CALLER: Yep. She's been heralded throughout the state as being personable, likable, intelligent, strong, and conservative. And she crosses over from conservative to liberalism not in thought, but because she stands by what she believes in. And, surprisingly enough, she has been at the forefront of ethics reform in our great state --
RUSH: Yeah, plus she's a housewife, before that, she's a babe. I saw a picture.
RUSH: Well, it's undeniable.
CALLER: Well, it is undeniable, and that's why the paradox is there for me. I think that because she's intelligent, number one, conservative maybe number one also, but she is photogenic, she is likable, she is engaging. When you meet her, she is interested in you, she speaks well.
RUSH: By the way, wait a second. I'm not diminishing any of those things by pointing out that she's a babe.
CALLER: Oh, no, no, no.
RUSH: The babe is the icing on the cake aspect, something the Democrats can't claim on their side.
CALLER: Exactly, especially when the highest Democrat that you can speak of is Mrs. Bill Clinton.
RUSH: You said it, not I. I just advanced the theory.
CALLER: Well, I can tell you that Governor Palin doesn't have to lift her chin up to 12 o'clock to get a good photo of her.
RUSH: I just love you. I love you, Julie. I love listening to women talk about other women like this.
CALLER: I am not berating Mrs. Bill Clinton, I am just --
RUSH: No, of course not. You are elevating Madam Palin.
CALLER: (laughing) Exactly.
CALLER: She can't take a bad picture not even from the back end.
RUSH: (laughing) She can't take a bad picture even from the back end. All of which you say is true.
Yeesh. To think that Rush Limbaugh has been the shepherd of the right in this nation for more than two decades. Wow. I think I need another cup of coffee and an aspirin.
Stay tuned...just when you thought this election could not get more historic...it did.
Safe to say that we have witnessed history tonight--a cliche thrown around a lot this election season, but nonetheless, it's rare indeed to witness history in the making.
I would love to hear your thoughts. The most rewarding part of hosting this blog is reading your comments. Although at times we might disagree, it's a privilege to provide a space for you to share your opinions.
What aspect of Obama's speech resonated most deeply with you tonight.
Was it his economic message?
His criticism of John McCain?
His national security agenda?
His health care plan?
His call for national service?
His determination to create a cultural change?
Remember, comments are anonymous, and posting doesn't require a Blogger account, but it would be great if you could name the state or country that you are writing from.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
10:03 p.m. EST -- RADIO SILENCE
I've blogged steadily since February, 2007, writing, emailing, and knocking on doors to spread Barack Obama's message. I'm going to give it a rest for the remainder of the evening to soak in the magnitude of this historic moment, and enjoy what will prove to be the speech of a lifetime.
I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has ever read this blog, and my gratitude to my fellow Obama supporters who have all worked tirelessly to make this night possible.
"We are the change we've been waiting for." --Barack Obama
9: 44 p.m. EST -- BARNEY, BARNEY, BARNEY!
While CNN and MSNBC were too busy having their pundits have their ten thousandth arguments of this convention, PBS and CSPAN were actually broadcasting the convention, including a fantastic speech by Barney Smith of Marion, Indiana. In a plea on behalf of the heartland, Barney delivered this gem: "We need a president who puts Barney Smith ahead of Smith Barney!"
The crowd immediately chanted his name--a former factory worker became the hero of this convention, in my humble, honest opinion.
9:33 p.m. EST -- WHY CABLE NEWS IS SHAMELESS
Joe Biden introduced a series of everyday Americans who are going to take the stage to describe their experiences. These are people that Barack Obama has met as he campaigned across the country. Joe Biden told the audience that he wants America to hear these voices and that when he and Barack are in the Oval Office, "they will always be heard."
But are these "everyday voices" important enough for the cable networks? Apparently not. Meanwhile, here's Wolf and Anderson!
9:30 p.m. EST -- ECHOES, ECHOES, ECHOES
Here's a general criticism of the logistics of this venue. The speakers--Biden and Gore included--need to slow down their delivery.
In such an enormous, outdoor venue, the sound takes a while to travel to the crowd, and so the applause and audience reaction is a bit delayed. Meanwhile, at home, the TV audience hears audio from the sound board--by the time the audience reacts to one remark, the speaker is already halfway through his or her next statement.
9:22 p.m. EST -- MORE JOE BIDEN
Joe Biden just took the stage in an unscheduled appearance. He's basically restating excerpts from last night's rhetoric, but this is a very smart move nonetheless. This large crowd has been standing all day--with thousands more still lined up outside--and it's important to put someone up on the stage to rile up the crowd a bit in anticipation of Obama's big speech.
9:22 p.m. EST -- SPOILER ALERT
The Obama campaign recently released excerpts from tonight's speech, "The American Promise." Here are some highlights.
Excerpts of the Remarks of Senator Barack Obama, “The American Promise," Democratic National Convention, August 28, 2008, Denver, Colorado (As prepared for delivery)“Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay and tuition that is beyond your reach
“These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed presidency of George W. Bush.
“America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.”
“This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”
“Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
“But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.”
“You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.
“We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put away a little extra money at the end of each month so that you can someday watch your child receive her diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.
“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.
“The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.”
“That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
“Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.
“Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
“I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
“I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.
“And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
“Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.
“Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.
“As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.”
“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once more the last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.”9:08 p.m. EST -- GORE'S INCONVENIENT TRUTHS
Al Gore just delivered a rousing speech skewering what he described as "Bush-Cheney-McCain" politics, continuing to link John McCain ever more closely with the present administration.
It's almost painful to consider where this country would be if this man would have been elected in 2000.
The crowd at Mile High is phenomenal--I can't imagine what the atmosphere is like in the stadium. I tried to call a friend of mine in attendance, but it's no use--
Safe to say, though, that the atmosphere is probably electric.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Joe Biden put to rest any doubts. Delivering the most scathing attacks on John McCain so far, Biden led cheers that McCain would only be "more of the same." He warned that four more years of Bush/McCain politics could set American back a decade, and repeated emphatically that on every major national security issue of the past six years, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama has been proven right.
During one light moment of the speech, Biden warned the audience about "voting for Bush--McCain--," and calling the error a "Freudian slip," much to the amusement of the DNC audience.
Obama joined Biden and his wife on stage at the end of the speech, gearing up the audience for what should prove to be an historic climax at Mile High Stadium tomorrow night. It took three days to pass the torch, but now that he has it, the White House is within reach.
Bill Clinton's ego is monolithic, and he managed to put it aside for fifteen minutes and to speak the truth that the party--and the nation--needed to hear.
It would have been great if he could have done this, oh, I don't know, two months ago?
So let's just read the writing on the wall--the Clintons have hijacked the convention.
For all the talk about how great Hillary's speech was, about how she was willing to put the differences aside, we have to face the fact that the first two--and now three--days of this convention belong to the Clintons, and the rampant speculation about what they and their supporters are going to say.
There have been some great moments--Ted Kennedy's speech, Michelle's speech, and so forth, but the Clintons and their supporters have had a lot of camera time, resulting in a convention so far that has been one long, emotional, weepy discourse about the importance of unifying against the Republicans, although with very little concrete action about the Republicans or John McCain.
In short, the DNC 2008 has basically been everything the Republicans could have hoped for.
Tonight, Joe Biden takes the stage, but if the last two days have been any indication, all eyes will be on old Bubba. What will he say? Will he come right on out and say that Obama is ready for the Oval Office? Is he really going to skip Obama's speech tomorrow?
Meanwhile, folks will talk about Biden, folks will talk about Obama, but I guarantee you--tune into any major network tonight during prime time, and you'll be hearing Clinton, Clinton, Clinton--three times as much as you'll be hearing Obama's name.
Is this Bill and Hillary's fault? Well--no--it's the media's. Always striving for that blockbuster narrative, the mainstream media is licking its chops over the battle of "The Three Clans." The Kennedys, The Clintons, and now The Obamas.
News flash: The Obamas are not a clan. That's why Barack was chosen. He is not an long-time political insider.
But the media is so hungry for a feud that we have heard very little about the actual democratic platform--certainly not much more than the same old broad, sweeping strokes that the party has been painting for months now.
So with Bill sure to take the spotlight tonight, there is precisely one day left for Obama to deliver the platform. It puts him in an awfully tight spot. He is going to have to accomplish a lot of things in that one speech to make up for three days of this nonsense.
Did Bill and Hillary anticipate that this was how the convention would go down? I don't know, but if any two people know how the media machine works in this country, it's those two.
So Bubba, on the off chance that you're sulking in your hotel room right now, reading this blog--set that ego aside tonight. Talk about Barack. Let people know you're with him. This party has business to attend to. Then, tomorrow, attend his address, stand up, and cheer like the rest of us.
The cable news networks have completely embraced the partisan press model. This quick clip of side by side MSNBC and Fox coverage of Michelle Obama's speech is an interesting illustration of how completely viewers' political realities are mitigated by the network(s) they watch.
- Do you think the party is accomplishing its goals?
- What messages need to be drilled home in the next two days?
- Is the rift between the Clinton and Obama camps genuinely healed, or are lingering tensions simply being swept under the rug?
- What does Biden need to say tomorrow to assure voters that he is the best choice for VP?
- What does Obama need to say on Thursday to seal the deal?
...Shame on Wolf Blitzer and the other pundits speculating on the potential effect of Hurricane Gustav making landfall in the gulf on the eve of the Republican Convention. To politicize a hurricane that threatens the safety and livelihood of a region--and a hurricane that hasn't even struck yet--is beyond despicable. We don't need a fresh hurricane to remind us of the unmitigated disaster that was the U.S. government's response to Katrina, (and a bipartisan disaster, at that.)
Also briefly noted...
...Shame on Bill Clinton if he chooses to skip Obama's keynote speech on Thursday. What is there to lose in attending? Not much. What is there to gain? Oh, let's see, a unified front on the road to a Democratic White House?
Don't even get me started on this guy. 12 months ago, I had so much respect for Bill Clinton. During my cross-country move last year, on the way from South Texas to Indiana, I stopped in Hope, Arkansas, just to see where the man was born. But after his antics during the primaries, and now during the general. Ugh.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
9:17 p.m. EST
The media just insist on making the narrative of this convention Clinton versus Obama. I'm not saying that there are no tensions in the party--it's just that every interview on MSNBC and CNN is centered on the rifts, rather than the unity, in the party. I think Nancy Pelosi said it best earlier tonight when she told an MSNBC reporter that the DNC will be unified. It has never been unanimous.
9:30 p.m. EST
Ted Kennedy: "My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here, and nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight..."
In a night of sterile, scripted, canned-for-television addresses, Ted Kennedy's appearance offers the first real moment of emotion and genuine excitement.
10:33 p.m. EST
The Michelle Obama video did an excellent job of delivering her moving, inspiring life story to the prime time audience. (Briefly noted: I had no idea that Michelle Obama's brother was the head coach of the Oregon State men's basketball team.)
10:49 p.m. EST
Michelle was obviously, understandably, and charmingly nervous and stilted at the beginning of her speech, but it wasn't long before she hit her stride. This convention was at risk of a disappointing start, but Michelle has delivered here, especially with her appeals to women voters and her acknowledgment of Hillary Clinton's lifetime of public service.
10:56 p.m. EST
Obama via satellite: "Now you know why I asked her out so many times even though she said no."
This satellite address was awkward, largely because of the logistics, I suppose. That could have gone more smoothly.
Day one has been heavy on biography and light on policy. The healing is underway, now let's get to the platform tomorrow! A feel good night was necessary to portray the Democratic party as unified and the Obama family as representative of traditional American values, but now that the message has been delivered, it's time to get on to the policy.
The Obama story is absolutely powerful and deserving of attention and celebration, but millions of Americans have heard the story dozens of times before. It's time to get on to a new, tougher message on the economy, on national security, and on how the party is in sharp contrast to the Republicans and John McCain.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I definitely wasn't the first to know.
I don't how how the Obama campaign managed to fumble the "Be the First to Know" campaign, but that's another story all together--we all know now that it's going to be Delaware Senator Joe Biden. He has many strengths for reasons that I won't belabor here...foreign policy experience, a generally liberal voting record, as well as blue-collar, Catholic roots that will be helpful in states like his native Pennsylvania. (He's originally from Scranton, by the way.)
While all of this is nice, his veteran status in the Senate, while providing a nice balance to Obama, is contrary to the campaign's message of change. You would need to look at either Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy to find a Democratic Senator who is more of an insider than Biden. Choosing Joe Biden meant that Bracack Obama chose "Old Washington."
Biden voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq, a vote that Obama has repeatedly criticized as irresponsible, although it's worth mentioning that Biden has been a fierce critic of the Bush administration's mishandling of both wars.
Lastly, Biden has a history of unbelievable verbal gaffes, many of which we are certain to see replayed through the weekend. Hopefully, the news networks get all of these out of their system shortly, so that we can move on to the here and now.
Overall, Biden is a safe choice. At his age, he's not likely to seek the office of the president himself--an interesting trend developing. There is plenty to criticize, but at this point, if the McCain camp is going to spend time and dollars trying to bring down Biden, it's not likely to be money well spent. Campaigns are rarely made or broken by the VP, and Biden might serve as something of a decoy for the McCain campaign, while providing many Americans with a sense of security that there will be some of the "Old Washington" in the Oval Office.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
"This is exactly what happens every single election cycle. The Right spews some petty, personality-based attack, and the chirping media birds then mindlessly repeat it until it's lodged into our discourse as accepted fact. That's the media strategy on which the Right is relying to win the election this year again -- dictating the songs sung by the vapid, chirping press birds -- even as they petulantly and incessantly complain that the same media stars who serve this strategy are stacked against them." -Glenn Greenwald, Salon
This brilliant Salon editorial details how John McCain, facing overwhelming odds in the general election, has predictably turned to the attack-dog strategies of Karl Rove. Please read it before you enjoy this first weekend in August. Then please pass it on to a friend.